Design, Fabrication and Testing of Graphite Bipolar Plates for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

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Date

2009-09-15

Authors

Alayavalli, Kaushik
Bourell, David L.

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University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) are clean energy devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy. The bipolar plate component of the DMFC is required to be fluid impermeable to prevent fuel leakage and electrically conductive to collect the electrons produced within the cell. Graphite possesses the properties of high electrical conductivity, low weight and resistance to corrosion that make it an attractive material for bipolar plates. However, the poor mechanical properties of graphite lead to prohibitive machining costs. The indirect Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process, involving the laser sintering of graphite powders mixed with a phenolic resin binder, offers the advantage of complex part production and testing of prototype bipolar plates in short times. The current research deals with the production of bipolar plates for DMFC's by utilizing indirect SLS followed by post processing steps.

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